News / Europe

US Apologizes Over EU Ukraine ‘Insult’

US Apologizes to EU Over Ukraine 'Insult'i
X
February 08, 2014 4:28 PM
Top US diplomat Victoria Nuland has apologized to the European Union after using an expletive to describe what should happen to the EU because of what she considers its passive role in Ukraine. Her comments came in a phone call that was intercepted and posted on the internet in Russia. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
US Apologizes to EU Over Ukraine 'Insult'
Henry Ridgwell
A senior U.S. State Department official, Victoria Nuland, has apologized to the European Union after using an expletive while discussing the EU's diplomatic role in Ukraine's political conflict. Her controversial comment became public in an Internet video of an intercepted phone call. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Assistant Secretary of State Nuland was in Ukraine this week to meet President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition figures, as the standoff there between the government and protesters continues.

In a phone call that was apparently bugged and posted on the Internet, Nuland scoffed at the European Union's position to her colleague, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.

“… that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the U.N. help glue it, and, you know, [expletive - beeped out] the EU,” she said.

  • Anti-government protesters sing the national anthem as they gather at a barricade, central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with riot police, Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • A woman carries sandwiches as anti-government protesters gather in Independence Square, central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester stands behind a barricade during clashes with riot police in Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters gather in Independence Square in central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • A man who was injured during clashes between anti-government protesters, Interior Ministry members and riot police receives medical treatment inside Mikhailovsky Zlatoverkhy Cathedral (St. Michael's golden-domed cathedral), Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Riot police officers spray anti-government protesters with water in Independence Square in central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters throw stones towards Interior Ministry officers during a rally, near Parliament, in Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters throw stones at the office of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters escort an unidentified man after attacking an office of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • A woman carries stones during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters burn the Party of the Regions flags, calendars and booklets during a rally, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.

Knocking Klitschko

In another excerpt, Nuland appears to suggest one of the Ukrainian opposition leaders, Vitaly Klitschko, should not be included in any future government.

“So I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think it’s a good idea,” she said.

The assistant secretary of state later apologized to the EU but declined to answer reporters’ questions on the phone call. She did however, describe the apparent bugging as "pretty good tradecraft." U.S. officials have implied Russia may be involved in leaking the recording.

Responding to the leaked remarks, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Nuland’s comment on the behavior of Europeans is unacceptable. He added, "There is no space for criticisms about our conduct regarding Ukraine. Our attitude is very cautious and well thought. There is room for discussion about sanctions, and we are carrying these discussions on."

The protests in Ukraine erupted in November after President Yanukovych pulled out of a trade deal with the EU, opting instead to sign a loan and energy agreement with Russia.

Mixed reaction

Since then, politicians from the United States and the European Union have visited Kyiv several times. The Western allies had appeared to be working in tandem, says Ian Bond of the Center for European Reform, a policy institute in London.

“It seems to me that the EU has actually done a pretty good job in Ukraine so far and that on the whole the EU and the U.S. have worked together quite well. But I suspect that for many American diplomats the problem with the EU is that it works very slowly.”

On the streets of Brussels there was a mixed reaction to the diplomatic dispute.

Resident Fiona Chevalier said that as a European citizen, she feels frustrated. “It saddens me that the United States has such a low image of Europe,” she said.

Brussels resident Marc Botenga said the contempt for the European Union was not a surprise. But, he said, it's not very democratic to discuss what the government of another country should be.

The original Internet posting of the phone call has been traced to Russia.

Moscow denies intercepting the communication. But analysts say the leak will do little to improve the already frosty relations between the Kremlin and the West.

You May Like

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF2 from: Great North (Canada)
February 09, 2014 3:46 PM
The bureaucrats of the EU and their head of states have their fingers in every conflict, they stoke people's hopes, and then they abandon them. The situation in the Ukraine is no different than in many other countries in Europe, including countries inside of the EU. Many of these countries are on the edge of economic collapse, most of the unrest observed is caused by economic downturns; we see the sit in Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia Herzegovina, etc all of then seating on a very fine knife edge, ready to go over into total collapse, followed by massive social violence. An what is the EU and its bureaucreats doing about it? not much, but propagandizing how good it would be for all of them under the EU membership. The EU should take significant actions to help the poorer countries already in the EU, and stop encouraging more under-developed economically countries to somehow join the EU. The record of the EU in enhancing the economies of poor EU members is very poor. Just look at the poor record of the EU's Bosnia-Herzegovina IC. No wonder many are pointing the finger at the EU, rightly,so, in my view. The EU needs to fix: Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia Herzegovina, etc.. before the people turn to violence due to lack of work/food/heat/... basic needs.

by: Carnac The Magnificent from: USA
February 08, 2014 4:47 PM
Now the European Union is bitching about that!? What about bugging our diplomats phone? You all raised so much hell about us doing it to you, well this is what you deserve and I agree with our diplomat, and to hell with you as well.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs